From Art Comes Engineering ~ Kim Harris (née Willett, A, 2008)

When I started at College in 2013, I can say with some confidence that the worlds of engineering and manufacturing were not high on my list of interests. My main and perhaps only subject of interest was Art.

However, I was told I couldn’t do just Art for A Levels, so I decided to take on Physics and Mathematics with Art as my creative outlet. This decision turned
out to be a pivotal one, and I realised that I could combine technicality and creativity in a Product Design Engineering degree.

This degree opened my eyes to what is really involved in ‘designing products.’ I was initially disappointed to discover it was not going to be three years spent purely sketching and designing products but in fact I spent much more of my time learning about mechanical, electrical and software engineering principles.

However, I was then introduced into the world of computer aided design (CAD) and finally the link between Maths, Physics and Art became clear.

At the end of my degree, I found myself sat in front of two senior engineers at a world leading engineering company, being interviewed for a position as a Process Design Engineer within the manufacturing company Renishaw Plc.

I have worked on many different products and technologies within the company, one of my first projects being an automation cell with my own little robot to program and 10 years on, I am designing build and test, semi-automated equipment for Renishaw’s precision metrology products, which are used in the manufacture of consumer electronics right through to the aerospace industry.

[Kim working as a STEM ambassador, giving a tour of the Renishaw headquarters, New Mills, in 2012.]

I am still learning every day and I really enjoy the opportunities and skills it has given me. Often this is not a career assumed to be chosen by women, which is why I’m passionate about encouraging all young people to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

I have been lucky enough to be given a platform to do this on several occasions as a STEM ambassador, from running educational sessions for pupils at schools, supporting learning days for young children to learn about how different everyday products are made and talking to Sixth Form students at College considering their next steps.

[The Renishaw stand at the big bang fair in 2014.]